The 2018 Lexus GX 460 has been on sale since late 2009. There have been a few minor updates, but a 2018 model is essentially the same as one from 2010. It's based on the global Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and shares more than a little with the Toyota 4Runner. It slots between the Lexus RX and the big daddy Lexus LX. Despite its age, it's still a seller. Sales were up in 2017. In fact, the GX had its best year in the U.S. since 2005. Blame cheap gas all you want. Really, people just want SUVs.
We have a base-spec model. The only option is navigation. There's no heated seats or upgraded audio or safety features like blind-spot monitoring or active cruise control. It's basic and honest, but it also highlights just how out of date the GX really is.
Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: The GX 460 is a body-on-frame, V8-powered, three-row grunt. It's comfortable and functional, but in a segment with more than a few options, this one struggles to stand out. The styling is polarizing yet somehow also vanilla. The spindle grille looks awkward and out of place — a dissonant interpretation of Lexus' latest design language — while the lightly flared fenders say almost nothing.
The 4.6-liter V8 only puts out 301 horsepower but still slurps gas to the tune of 15 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Power delivery is fine via the six-speed automatic transmission, but the GX 460 feels sluggish from launches. The interior is nice enough with pleasing materials and an intuitive layout. Visibility is solid, you're certainly high enough up, so the command driving position is confidence-inducing. Not a fan of the eight-inch multimedia screen, which feels small and isn't the most informative system I've ever used.
Overall, I'd give the GX 460 a C+ compared to other vehicles in this segment. Decent, but dated and lacking some compelling elements. That being said, if you're a Lexus loyalist and want a beastly three-row SUV, you will like this one. If you're more brand agnostic, there are better options out there.
Associate Editor Reese Counts: Let's get one thing out of the way — the Lexus GX is old. Yes, it's been on sale essentially unchanged since late 2009, but that's not all there is to it. This is a traditional, body-on-frame SUV with a torquey V8 and a real four-wheel drive system. It's one of the last of its breed. Customers have shifted away from these behemoths, settling on more comfortable and more efficient car-based crossovers. Just look at Lexus' lineup. Through March, Lexus has sold 5,691 GX. Compare that to 23,790 RX. Cost has a bit to do with it, but really, tastes have changed.
I wonder where the heated seat controls are supposed to go. pic.twitter.com/Z1N4tzpLtT — Reese Counts (@rmcounts) April 10, 2018
The interior is dated. Our base-trim model didn't help. There were big blanks where some of the four-wheel drive and heated-seat controls were supposed to go. It looks cheap and just tells passengers you couldn't afford more. We were also stuck with Toyota's terrible infotainment system. Some of us on staff experienced frequent Bluetooth connectivity issues (yes, we made sure everything was up to date). There was only one UBS port, a big penalty compared to the competition.
All that said, I really enjoyed driving this thing. It's surprisingly composed for a body-on-frame SUV. The ride was fantastic, aided in part by forgiving off-road suspension and more sidewall than I've seen in years. The seats were shaped perfectly for my back. It was a really great place to be while searching metro Detroit for a new house. The V8 may be relatively underpowered, but it felt strong enough driving in traffic. Sounded good, too.
I liked it so much I actually came home and started looking for used ones online. Buying a 2010 model is essentially the same as buying this one (minus some visual updates). I've been wanting a good off-roader for overlanding, and this has the credentials. This may be a dinosaur, but it's a charming and comfortable one.